Solitude, suffering, and creativity in three existentialist novels

Boag, Cara Ingrid (2009-12)

Thesis (MA (English Studies))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: As existent beings, we identify with the world through our thoughts and perceptions. Man is driven to seek meaning by the very complexities and contradictions of existence. As self-conscious beings, we cannot live without a sense of awareness and understanding. Creativity allows an individual to develop a unique understanding of the nature and destiny of man. This study draws attention to writers who were able to transcend their external environment and immerse themselves in a setting where man’s individuality is fundamental to living an authentic life. Camus, Dostoevsky and Kafka made every effort to live consciously and authentically. They believed that inwardness was not to be defined by an external, social setting, but rather through an intimacy of consciousness. This awareness and unveiling of being enables us to create meaning. These authors removed their social mantles and were willing to sacrifice acceptance in the pursuit of this cause. They believed that every man has a responsibility to live an individual and authentic life. This psychological and even physical isolation is not easy, however, and often causes much suffering. Using existentialism as a framework, this thesis will focus on solitariness, suffering and creativity, all of which point to the importance of individual consciousness rather than living a life of societal pressures and conformity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: As lewende wesens identifiseer ons onsself met die wêreld deur middel van gedagtes en waarnemings. Die mens word gedryf deur die soeke na betekenis in die kompleksiteit en teenstellings van sy bestaan. As wesens met selfkennis kan ons nie leef met ‘n gebrek aan bewustheid en begrip nie. Kreatiwiteit laat die individu toe om ‘n unieke begrip van die aard en lot van die mens te ontwikkel. Hierdi verhandeling vestig die aandag op skrywers wat verby hul uiterlike omgewings kon uitreik en hulself kon indompel in ‘n mileu waar die mens se individualiteit grondliggend is om ‘n onvervalste lewe te lei. Camus, Dostoevsky en Kafka het alles in hul vermoë gedoen om bewustelik en suiwer te lewe. Hulle het geglo dat die innerlike nie gedefinieer kan word deur die uiterlike, sosiale omgewing nie, maar eerder deur ‘n intimiteit van bewustheid. Hierdie bewustheid en openbaring van bestaan laat ons toe om betekenis te skep. Hierdie skrywers het hul sosiale mantels afgewerp en was bereid om sosiale aanvaarbaarheid op te offer in hul strewe na hierdie doelwit. Hulle het geglo dat elke mens oor ‘n individuele en onvervalste lewe beskik. Die sielkundige en selfs fisieke afsondering is egter nooit maklik nie en het dikwels groot lyding tot gevolg. Met eksistensialisme as raamwerk sal hierdie tesis focus op afsondering, lyding en kreatiwiteit.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/1713
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